I forbindelse med vores julekalender 2023, har vi fået tilsendt Shammelyn Lominog Macabandos historie – en enlig mor, der er internt fordrevet af krigen, der hærgede i Marawi. Shammelyns beretning er et eksempel på kvinders styrke i modgang, og hun fortæller, hvordan hun er gået fra frygt, usikkerhed, modgang og midlertidigt krisecenter – til glæde, empowerment, styrke og genopbygning af liv og håb som ‘community facilitator’. Læs hendes stærke beretning her:

In the aftermath of the Marawi siege, where echoes of conflict lingered like ghosts, there emerged a tale of resilience embodied by me, a single mother displaced by the ravages of war. Once a quiet corner of the city, my home now lay in ruins, forcing me into the realm of internally displaced persons.

Hi, I am Shammelyn Lominog Macabando, 28 years old, from Marawi City. Seven days before the Marawi siege, I gave birth to my son. On May 23, 2017, I would have been happy for my new son and to welcome our coming Ramadan, but suddenly our joy and excitement disappeared because it was replaced by fear due to the presence of ISIS. It turns out that ISIS is here; the joy and smiles I used to hear from my family have been replaced by cries, fear, and gunshots.

The poor crowd didn’t get out right away because I didn’t want to leave my brothers, fearing that ISIS might take them for three nights. We were there for those four days; fortunately, we got out on May 26, 2017. Our family left, and we stayed with our relatives in Iligan City for a while.

After one month, we moved from place to place with the relatives we were staying with until we returned to Marawi because I got a temporary shelter in Sagonsongan. That’s when I started joining and attending meetings, workshops, and seminars I heard about for internally displaced persons (IDPs). One day at Ma’am Samera Gutoc’s house, I attended a meeting in 2022, and they selected an IDP leader for the temporary shelter from Suwara O Miyamagoyag, and I am one of those chosen to represent the IDPs.

As a temporary shelter IDPs leader, I have attended many meetings to address the problems of my fellow IDPs in the temporary shelter. The president of Lombay ka Marawi, Sir Dino, chose me to attend the IDP Bill Consultation in Davao on December 15, 2022. I approached Sir Dino to join Lombay Ka Marawi because I heard that many IDPs have been helped by Lombay Ka Marawi, and also, I can help my fellow IDPs in that way.

It’s good that Lombay Ka Marawi has a project, and I am one of Sir Dino’s hires. He accepted me because, with my child in tow, I faced the harsh reality of displacement. Yet, within me, a flame of strength burned brightly. Determined not to be defined by the tragedy, I became a beacon of empowerment in the makeshift community that emerged from the remnants of destruction.

With an unyielding spirit, I sought opportunities amidst adversity, and now I am a community facilitator of Lombay Ka Marawi. I am happy and content as a single mom with five kids who are studying. Even though life is hard, I feel happy that we can still help others, so I am very grateful to the president of Lombay Ka Marawi for hiring me as a community facilitator and tirelessly helping the partnership of Lombay Ka Marawi with ALTERPLAN, Ma’am Sarah Redoblado, DIB, and others. Thank you so much. Without you who built and supported Lombay Ka Marawi, it wouldn’t exist today.

In the heart of Marawi, amidst the remnants of a once-thriving city, my story resonated as a testament to the strength of women in adversity. My resilience echoed through the alleys, reminding everyone that even in the face of destruction, an empowered woman could emerge, fostering hope and rebuilding not just homes but also shattered lives.”